Authors Posts by Francesca Ceciarini

Francesca Ceciarini

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David Luiz was one of the protagonist of tonight’s 1-1 draw with Liverpool: after the match the Brazilian defender spoke about the stunning free-kick with which he gave the lead to Chelsea half-way through the second half:

“Sometimes you need to try the surprise,” Luiz said on his free-kick.

“I’m not in the best position to take free-kicks because my knee is hurting and I can’t train every day,” he said speaking of the small injury that followed Sergio Aguero‘s dreadful tackle back in December “but in a game you need to see the opportunity.

“I’m pleased I scored.”

“It is never easy to play here at Anfield and win points.

“We had an opportunity to win the game, and we’re unlucky we didn’t win it. But it was a good result.”

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The Anfield big match ends 1-1 but it feels like a win for Chelsea, because their closest rivals all drop points and the Blues increase their gap: in fact, Spurs leave Sunderland with a goalless draw while Arsenal lose 2-1 to Watford at the Emirates and now both teams are second with 47 points, with Chelsea still leading the table with 56, 9 points clear, that at this point of the season can be lost only with a [sport] suicide.

Chelsea could have won a game that Liverpool, anyway, played better if Diego Costa didn´t miss a penalty at minute 77: Mignolet’s save gave even more adrenalin to the Reds, that in the last minutes were even more convinced to get the three points, but the Blues stayed focused and showed their impressive tactical organization, especially in the defense.

Pedro even missed two more chances in a couple of counter attacks, but also Liverpool went close to score when Firmino missed a goal with a weak header, even if the Brazilian missed an even more clamorous occasion half way in the second part, when he sent the ball – really – high on the crossbar when he was alone in front of Courtois, this was just some minutes after Wijaldum’s equaliser, a beautiful header in one of the few occasions where Chelsea defence and Courtois didn’t seem concentrated and ready.

The Dutchman was also the protagonist of the first dangerous chance of the night, when he tested Courtois’ reflexes with a great shot after 11′.

Nothing much happened in the first part, until minute 25′, when Eden Hazard tripped Adam Lallana that pushed him down the floor: on the following free-kick, David Luiz found an incredible powerful shot that surprised Mignolet and took Chelsea to lead 1-0.

After a couple of minutes the Belgian keeper saved a ball coming from a Willian´s free-kick from the left.

Liverpool, anyway, put pressure on Chelsea for the entire game but Conte’s side showed again their great defensive skills and organization.

Despite the draw Chelsea still have a good gap from their chasers and after Arsenal’s defeat tonight they can even face Saturday’s derby with less pressure, even if a win from the Gunners would give them again faith for the title race, so Conte’s guys cannot underestimate this crucial game that, if won, can give them wings in their title’s pursue.

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LIVERPOOL – Mignolet, Clyne, Lovren, Matip, Milner, Wijnaldum, Henderson (c), Can, Lallana, Coutinho, Firmino

Subs: Karius, Klavan, Moreno, Leiva, Mane, Origi, Sturridge

Manager: Jurgen Klopp

 

CHELSEA – Courtois; Azpilicueta, David Luiz, Cahill (c); Moses, Kante, Matic, Alonso; Willian, Diego Costa, Hazard.

Subs: Begovic, Terry, Zouma, Chalobah, Fabregas, Pedro, Batshuayi

Manager: Antonio Conte

 

Referee: Mark Clattenburg

Kick Off: 8 pm GMT

Venue: Anfield, Liverpool, UK

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We report from TalkSport an article by a Chelsea fan that is trying to explain why he can’t stand Liverpool, the big rival of tonight’s clash at Anfield.

Why can’t I stand Liverpool? Four simple words get me going. Luis Garcia‘s ghost goal.

It’s irrelevant that Liverpool may have had a penalty/Cech may have been sent off if the goal, rightly, had not been given. The fact is a goal was given that should not have been, after Liverpool had fluked their way out of the group stages, and it took them to a Champions League final they should never have won – but did. As a Chelsea fan, I can’t abide any of that.

Then there is the fact that, off the back of a lucky final win, where Milan should really have seen them off, Liverpool fans have perpetuated the myth that Rafa Benitez is some kind of world class manager.

That’d be like us claiming Roberto Di Matteo is the second coming. 

Benitez, lest anyone forget, destroyed Jose Mourinho’s treble-winning Inter team. He also lasted just seven months at Real Madrid– a Madrid that swiftly went on to win the Champions League and go 42-games unbeaten under Benitez’s successor, a managerial novice no less. And now the Spaniard is down in the Championship with Newcastle. Does that strike anyone as world class? 

Credit where it’s due, winning La Liga twice with Valencia was impressive from Benitez, but he’s been living off that and a fluky Champions League win for over a decade now. He may have achieved more than Di Matteo, but to compare him with the likes of a Guardiola, a Ferguson or a Mourinho is simply laughable.

I couldn’t write something on the Chelsea-Liverpool rivalry without addressing its most famous moment – Steven Gerrard’s slip. When John Terry slipped and cost us the Champions League against Manchester United we were always going to get a load of stick. United fans still sing about it now, they probably always will and we accept that.

So why do I see Liverpool fans crying over us singing about Gerrard? Get over it? Why should we? It seems funny to me how the fans who always sing to us about their ‘history’ want to erase a major part of it.

Oh and one final thing, the fact you’ve won ‘five European Cups and 18 leagues’ – as you’ve been chanting at us for the past 10 years – doesn’t make up for the fact you’ve won just one League Cup in that decade.

Try not to be annoyed by this article Liverpool fans and, if you are, don’t take it out on us Chelsea fans. Instead you should be angry with your team for letting Jesper Gronkjaer score the goal which took us into the 2003/04 Champions League.

This was the moment that ultimately attracted Abramovich to our club and changed the course of our ‘history’ altogether.

Without that Gronkjaer goal we probably would never have had our rivalry and I almost certainly wouldn’t be here writing this article today. Wouldn’t that have been a shame?

 

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Asmir Begovic is set to stay at Chelsea as one of the main Blues targets to replace him, Salvatore Sirigu, is close to join Osasuna from Valencia.

As reported by Calciomercato.com the Italian goalkeeper was the main Antonio Conte‘s choice to replace the Bosnian one, but with the ex PSG player set to be loaned to Osasuna, the Courtois’ number two is not free to move, as Chelsea wasn’t able to find a good substitute for him.

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Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp claims to be positive before Chelsea clash despite his team´s bad run in the last week: in just seven days the Reds lost three important games at home, the first one in the Premier League with Swansea – that was sitting bottom of the table before that match- then they lost to Southampton in the second leg of the EFL Cup semifinal, losing the chance to face Manchester United at Wembley in one month, and last Saturday they were knocked out from FA Cup by Wolverhampton ( that now will face Chelsea in fifth round),

“It’s an interesting sign of life that it can change in one month,” he said ahead of the visit of Antonio Conte’s table-toppers.

“But, of course my job here is really to put out the emotion when I judge situations.

“After a bad game, I cannot say ‘now we have to get rid of him and change everything’.

“In this moment we need, especially, as a team, to have faith, belief and all that stuff—that’s the main thing in the job: to stay calm and make the right decisions.

“We lost a few games we should have won and I think a lot of people think in this moment it could be difficult for Liverpool, and it is difficult, no doubt about this, but possible.

“The last week we have lost three home games and that feels less than average, although three different competitions is better than all in one competition.

“It’s all about point of view and how you want to see it. If you only take these three games and say ‘everything is rubbish’, I cannot change it.

“But for us it’s important that we build on the good things.

“I really think we should try everything to make the best of the base we created until now.

“Stay positive. There is no reason for anything else. Absolutely not. It will help a lot against Chelsea.”

Klopp also admitted to have a couple of injury concerns for this game:

“Ejaria got a knock in the first half [against Wolves]. At half-time he got treatment [and he said] it was good. Now he’s out for a while. [The syndesmosis] is a ligament between the shin bone and the [ankle]. It’s really painful.”

“Clyne made two running sessions to see if he could cope with the pain. I saw him yesterday and the thumb was very up, so that’s good”.

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Liverpool star Sadio Mane skipped all January games since he was involved in Africa Cup of Nations with his national team, Senegal, but Reds manager Jurgen Klopp is confident he can take part in the crucial clash against Chelsea tomorrow night:

“It’s all good so far, but of course he will be in tomorrow morning and then we have to make a decision,” the German coach said speaking ahead of Chelsea match.

“In this moment, I have no idea – I have to look into his eyes and see whatever is possible with him and then make a decision.”

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Chelsea will face Wolverhampton Wanderers in FA Cup Fifth Round.

These are the ties that will be played around the weekend of 18 February:

Burnley v Lincoln City

Fulham v Tottenham Hotspur

Blackburn Rovers v Manchester United

Sutton United v Arsenal

Middlesbrough v Oxford United

Wolverhampton Wanderers v Chelsea

Huddersfield Town v Manchester City

Millwall v Derby County or Leicester City

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Continuing our chat with ex Chelsea goalkeeper Marco Amelia we asked him about transfer market, that is closing his winter window tomorrow night, with his friend Asmir Begovic on the brink to leave the Blues after 18 months:

*If I were him, I would stay: it’s difficult to leave a team like Chelsea in a season like this, he can add some silverware to his personal trophy cabinet and I don’t think he will miss this chance, even if I understand that he would like to play more.”

Diego Costa allegedly received offers during this transfer window from a couple of Chinese clubs, this is what Amelia thinks about the Spaniard’s situation, since there are chances he can leave next summer:

“I hope Diego Costa can stay, my wish is that he will stay next summer. If he will leave I guess it´s easier for him to go back to Spain: probably he does´t like London very much and I cannot get how he could like China, so I don´t think he will go there. But it won´t be easy to leave for him, because now he´s a leader, he feels this leadership, he feels important, so if he moves it won´t be an easy choice for him, it´s more difficult to change in this moment.”

In his time at Chelsea Amelia had the chance to share the dressing room with a legend like John Terry, with whom he´s still friend, and has got only words of praise and respect for the Blues captain:

“What I liked more about Terry is that he is a TRUE captain, he arrives to the training ground before anyone else, sometimes I tried to arrive before him but I never succeed! He always beat me! He leads by example, he takes care of himself, he acts like a a real professional and shows to his team-mates that to reach certain levels you have to behave like that. This is the best example he can give to his team-mates and to the youngsters.”

And speaking about youngsters and academy talents, Amelia revealed us who is the one that most impressed him:

“Among Chelsea youngsters who impressed me more is Ruben Loftus-Cheek,” the Italian goalkeeper said.

“He´s got incredible physical and technical skills, he can adapt to play in more roles and yes, I agree with Conte, he can play as a number 9: of course he doesn’t have the moves of a proper striker, he has to learn them, he has to get more experience and maybe he´s not so fast as a modern number 9 has to be. I guess it should be better for him and other youngsters that don´t get much playing time to go on loan somewhere else to play.”

Premier League is, in this moment, the most fascinating championship in the world and Amelia told us why, in his opinion, the English league was able to overcome Serie A, that was the best league in the world over a decade ago:

“First of all, the stadia are better: to have the fans so close to the pitch, without fences, it´s incredible and give the team lots of adrenalin, in Italy many stadia got the athletics track.

“Furthermore, in England there is less tactical exaggeration, the training sessions are more physical because you must be physically tough but you need also good technical skills and all this benefits good performances, the “Premier League show”.

“I had some managers that were too obsessed with the tactic and this damaged the performances, the freedom of the players to express their talents and the show”.

Speaking about managers and tactical magicians, we got now two of them managing the two sides of Manchester even if, until now, they probably didn´t fulfill all the expectations football fans had about their new adventures:

“I guess Mourinho will do very well at Manchester United, Amelia said about the ex Chelsea boss.

“When you have to put players like [Paul] Pogba and [Zlatan] Ibrahimovic into your squad and tactical system you have to find the squad balance again: they were a little unlucky in autumn, they lost many points and so the chance to be in the title race, but this happened because of what I just said and once they found their balance they started to play better and win. Usually, he wins and does better in the second year. One of his qualities is to make everyone feel important, so everyone is ready to fight if needed.

Guardiola, instead, got some issues to adapt to English football,” the 2006 World Champion says about the ex Barcelona and Bayern manager.

“Mainly because he is trying to bring a different mentality. I don´t think that this is arrogance, it´s just his way to work, he wants to bring his style wherever he goes.”

Thibaut Courtois, David de Gea and Manuel Neuer are, at the moment, in the world goalkeepers top 3 and when asked about who, among the youngsters, can reach their level, Amelia has got no doubt:

“Among the new goalkeepers I like very much [AC Milan´s] Donnarumma: he´s just 17 and already a top player, he´s got tons of personality.”

Amelia is 34 but has no intention to retire from played football: at the moment he is a free agent and trains with a team near Roma, where he currently lives with his family.

The Italian keeper, anyway, knows what would make him happy again:

“My dream is to come back to play in England: I was really close to join Sunderland last summer, but then I had to go back to Italy also for some personal issues, because there are things that are most important than football. I negotiated also with a Championship side and I hope to sign for some team there soon: I am free agent now and I can find a new team until the end of March.

“I cannot go to China or Arabic leagues because they got some rules for which they cannot sign foreign goalkeepers, USA are fascinating but when you have to take these decisions you have to think also about your family, so I would prefer England.”

Do we have a chance to see him at Chelsea should Begovic leave? Everything will be revealed tomorrow night.

(Click HERE to read the first part of our interview with Marco Amelia that was published on Saturday)

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